Sustainability and its Paradoxes: The case study of a big coffee roasting company in the Turin Metropolitan Area on the lens of systemic design

Chiara Campolmi, Mariaserena Di Giovanni, Domenico Devanna, Daniel Jaramillo Rueda, Tommaso Muzi, and Alisia Pellegrini

Coffee is one of the most important agricultural commodities in the world. Due to its economic importance and its growing worldwide demand, it is well-known that the coffee value chain is responsible for several wicked problems, mainly associated with sustainability. Systemic design seems to provide an answer to deal with these issues, by defining a structured and holistic process and promoting an innovative approach towards a sustainable and resilient future. This paper aims to frame the role of the systemic designer as a figure capable of proposing sustainable strategies with an innovative and transdisciplinary approach. The discussion is narrowed to the specific case study of a big coffee roasting company present on the territory of the Turin Metropolitan Area, which has been analysed on the lens of the SD approach. The set of tools and methods provided by SD has led to the identification of paradoxes related to the sustainability vision promoted by the company itself. Owing to the fact that the company also operates on the international scene, very often it tends to confine its interventions towards sustainability to localized actions, instead of considering the whole system made of inter-connections. The role of the systemic designer becomes crucial in dealing with these tensions and proposing solutions in order to strike a balance in the sustainability dilemma.

Keywords: systemic design, holistic approach, design for sustainability, wicked problems, coffee value chain

Posted September 2021

©­ Author, published by the Systemic Design Association

Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD#) Symposium.